Mac Rebuild: my experience

June 15, 2015

Mac update Summary

To those of you who only read email subjects: I rebuilt my Mac and except for a couple of glitches that were my fault the Mac rebuild was as smooth as black ice on a Texas highway.

The long version

Mac are supposed to be rock solid and error free compared to PCs. That may or may not be true but they still have problems. Several weeks ago my Mac started running very slow, and at least the Chrome browser would not terminate. Also, the “lost+found” folderconsumed 25% of the total disk space. When I attempted to repair the disk using the Disk Utility it churned for quite awhile and displayed an error message something to the effect “could not repair disk, backup all your data, erase disk, and rebuild Mac”.

After much grinding of teeth and wringing of hands I bit the bullet and rebuilt my Mac from the ground up.

Erasing the disk and reinstalling the OS was idiot proof. Press one button to erase the disk. Then boot off the Internet and hit another button to install the OS.

The App Store remembers everything you’ve purchased. Other than failing to notice there is a “Purchased” tab reinstalling Apps bought from Mac App Store is very easy.

Not all was Sunshine and Margaritas however. Installing the printer was painful. I had to download and install 7 different “things” seperately. Printing now works but scanning doesn’t . I’m still attempting to fix my scanner issue. I can start the scan from the Mac now but not from the printer. Seems like a small thing to have to start the scan from the Mac but it really irritates me.

Installing Microsoft Office 365 shocked me. The installation was easy and worked the first time. Maybe Microsoft has finally seen the light?

Another big problem was reconnecting to Web sites I update/maintain via Ftp. The fault was all mine. I did not document essential information like user name, password, server,ftp port, and directory. I set them both up with FileZilla and did not record any of the essential parameters. To compound the issue FileZilla now comes packaged with Malware if you install it from Source Forge. Therefore, I had to find another Ftp client. After some research and experimenting with candidate Ftp tools I finally settled on Cyberduck at least for now. Also, both of the hosting services I use (Dreamhost and MacHighway) were extremely helpful.

Another interesting outcome of my Mac rebuild is I’ve recovered tons of disk space. Partially due to

Lessons learned

  • Keep a record of all accounts, licenses, and configuration parameters somewhere
  • Backup all your data. I recommend two backups – one at your home and one off site incase the unthinkable happens. Thankfully I had a backup of my data this time. A couple of years back on another computer I did not and never completely recovered.
  • If you are using free or shareware apps do your homework before blindly reinstalling them. They are trying make money also. One way to do so is to include “extra” products in the download like FileZilla now does.
  • No matter how good you plan there are little things that fall through the cracks. For example, my wife tried to watch a movie last night off of the Apple TV. It would not play. I had forgotten to turn on Apple Share on iTunes.